Keys to a Winning Resume: A 101 for Millennials

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Career Advice

One of the toughest obstacles any millennial will encounter is stepping foot into the job market. It’s petrifying. Here you are with a bunch of skills and a wealth of knowledge that you hope will lead to a job that pays decently and includes benefits. But, you’re competing with tons of other freshly-minted higher education graduates or those with a few years under their belt. How can you stand apart from the rest? By having a solid, well-drafted resume.

How am I so sure about this? Because mine set me apart. And trust me, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re doing at least one of the following. Here’s how to get a winning resume…

Every great resume starts with a great template
Whether you’ve never drafted a resume in your life or you have a working model, it’s always good to check out what others look like. Maybe yours looks archaic with an older font and you want to modernize it a bit. It’s totally kosher to look at what formatting other sample resumes use — those could be the basis for your great resume. A quick Google search will render millions of results.

Your resume should tell your story
Before you draft a single word on your Word document, take a moment and ask yourself, “who am I?” You want your resume to achieve one goal: to tell your story in an effective manner. Remember that human resources departments and job recruiters will be reading your resume, so you want to tell them, in a succinct fashion, what your career aspirations are, where you went to school, where you interned or previously worked at, and all your other accomplishments. Yes, your resume is the one opportunity to boast about yourself. And remember that you have to achieve this goal within one page in most cases.

Including your social media profile could add some personality, but keep it professional
Social media profiles are very telling of who you are. Your online persona often mimics your offline persona and you may want a prospective employer to see that side of you. Now, this doesn’t give you license to share every link to every social media account you have on your resume. Stick to the basics — include your LinkedIn URL in the header of your resume. And, if you don’t have a LinkedIn page, create one ASAP. As for other sites like Facebook or Twitter, if they’re professional enough, it’s at your discretion to share those links too, but make sure that they’re clean first.

Draft, then revise. Then take a break. Then revise. Then take a break. Then revise again
As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That means that things take time before they take full form, and that is especially true for your resume. Draft as much as you can and then take a break. The next day, take another look at your resume, make any necessary revisions, and then take another break. Repeat this process until you are comfortable with the way your resume reads. Any level-headed person will tell you that this approach to resume review is important. Taking a break and reviewing your resume each day helps you view your work product with clear eyes each time.

Do you know someone older than you who’s working? Have them review your resume
Peer review is tremendously beneficial. If you already have a resume, find at least three people to review your resume. See what they say. If they all like it, great. If they provide feedback on ways to improve it, take their advice into serious consideration. Getting the perspective of others and getting an unbiased review of your resume, is very important.

Hire a career consultant
Does it feel as though all of this seems like a lot? Look into hiring a career consultant to help you draft your resume. This can be a lower-stress option in the end if you’re worried about feeling overwhelmed. Plus, they’re pros who know what they’re doing!

5 Reasons Not to Burn a Bridge With a Company

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Career Advice

Hiring New Employees - Job Interview and Recruitment Selection I

As someone who has had the opportunity to burn a bridge several times over the course of my work history, I always return to how much it isn’t a good idea — even though it seems easy, and like something you shouldn’t have to worry about or put too much thought into.

“But, Mary Grace, you don’t understand. My boss wasn’t fair to me!”

I get it. And unfortunately, unfair employers are out there. No denying that fact (and if you want to know just how well we relate to your work woes, check out our Instagram page). However, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t burn that bridge with your ex-workplace, and here are just a few.

Job Recommendations
This reason is perhaps the most obvious, but it needs to be acknowledged. Even if you didn’t have a great experience with a job or a company (which happens — and that’s okay), your previous employer is still your best reference when looking to get your foot in the door. And you can bet you’ll be asked for said references when you’re applying and interviewing.elevator-pitch-grumpy-cat4d96b

Networking/Your Elevator Speech
If you’re at a networking event speaking to another person who can only focus on the fact that his or her previous boss was a jerk, what would you think? I’m guessing you’d try to find either the door, the food table, or the next available person to speak with.

Reputation
Odds are that if you’re changing jobs, you’ll be changing to a different job in the same industry. Even if they’re in competition, industry leaders speak to each other. Your reputation precedes you — it’s a smaller world than you realize.

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Your Employment Status
You don’t want to be fired after giving your two weeks notice, do you? (And yes, I’ve seen it happen). If your current boss is in fact listed as a reference, your new boss could (and most likely will) find out that you were terminated as a result of talking smack about the company — when you were already on your way out as an employee in good standing.

Your Well-Being
The reasons why not to burn a bridge with a company don’t start and end with your employer. You don’t want to carry a bad job experience into a new workplace. You can start your new gig with the knowledge that you didn’t burn that bridge when you know you could have — very easily. Besides, it takes a lot of energy to burn that bridge — bad energy that can burden you and interfere with your new work, whatever it is.

3 Reasons Keywords Are Crucial in Today’s Job Search

Author: Brett Pucino, Career Advice

Have you ever thought about how Google is able to give you search results related to your search word or phrase? It gives them to you with bots, called “spiders,” that crawl web pages and index them based on the keywords they contain.

Keywords have always been crucial to those trying to rank their content on the first page of Google, but what if I told you keywords are also crucial in today’s job search? Here are three reasons why.

Reason 1: Your resume is read by ATS Software before it’s read by a human
The Internet has made it easier to apply for jobs than ever before. There are dozens of job boards available to you, where you can upload your resume and apply to jobs with the click of a button. LinkedIn even has a job search app in which some jobs allow you to apply with your LinkedIn profile.

The problem is that the process has become too easy. The average corporate job opening gets 250 resumes for every opening. Rather than waste resources on the massive manpower it would take to have every resume screened by a human, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was created.

ATS Software is essentially a keyword filter. Companies can set keywords and phrases-such as desired skills-and have the software only pass on those who qualify. Companies can also set keywords and phrases that automatically disqualify a candidate. The skills that are listed prominently in the job description are the keywords you want to focus on.

Reason 2: Keywords also optimize your resume for scanning by a human
Keywords still play an important role once your resume gets through the ATS. The people reading your resume will move on to the next one in six to eight seconds – so they aren’t reading every word. Instead, they’re scanning for the same keywords as the ATS. When a reader sees a keyword (skill), he or she will pause and read that section for specific proof that the candidate possesses said skill.

Reason 3: Keywords are the core of creating a focused career brand
Keywords are the foundation of your career brand. Making a list of three to five keywords and phrases that describe your ideal version of yourself helps you develop a clearly defined unique value proposition.

These keywords should be your most valued professional strengths and personal characteristics. These words are what make you, you, both on a personal and professional level. You may think you intuitively know these words and can call them up when asked, but you’ll be surprised at how fleeting they can be when you need them most. Make a physical list of these keywords and weave them into an elevator pitch of your most desirable skills and traits. It’ll work wonders for your job search.

There is much more to using keywords successfully in your job search than squeezing in the key skills listed in the job description. You have to have the right strategy. I’ve spent the last five years playing chess with Google’s algorithms as a web content writer, and I’ve spent the last year understanding the ATS software. If you want to learn how to further use keywords to optimize your chances of getting noticed, then all you have to do is contact me at BreakthroughJobCoach@Gmail.com to set up a free consultation.